Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today welcomed the announcement of nearly $200 million in federal funding from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to assist the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) with Superstorm Sandy recovery. The $193.1 million in total funding includes initial reimbursement from the FTA for costs incurred by New York City Transit, Long Island Rail Road, and Metro-North Railroad during preparation for the storm through January 29. The funding also includes millions of dollars to rebuild MTA’s bridges and tunnels and various other facilities. It is the first round of funding the MTA has received to help recover from Sandy and rebuild stronger.
$141.6 Million for New York City Transit
The MTA has secured $141.6 million in vital funding from the Federal Transit Administration’s new Public Transportation Emergency Relief Program to help repair, reconstruct and replace MTA New York City Transit equipment and facilities that were badly damaged.
The funds will cover costs associated with pre-storm preparations of the subway, bus and Staten Island Railway system such as placing sandbags, covering vent openings and clearing drains. The FTA funds will also pay for initial capital work and repairs necessary at the Coney Island Yard, which was severely flooded as a result of the storm. New switch motors needed to be installed and 30 track switches needed to be tested and put back in service. The funds will also cover the costs of implementing a “bus bridge” that provided shuttle service for customers between Manhattan’s east side and three Brooklyn subway stations on November 1 and 2. The funding will also cover the initial scope and design efforts for additional restoration work, including work in under-river tubes, replacing signal interlockings and repairing line equipment such as fan plants and pump rooms. This work, which is part of a larger capital repair program needed to fully recover from Superstorm Sandy, will require future funding commitments.
“These federal dollars will help cover the costs of pre-storm preparations and initial recovery work that made it possible for the MTA to restore service as quickly as possible after the storm,” Governor Cuomo said. “The FTA’s quick action will help rebuild our battered transit infrastructure and restore full service for the millions of commuters who rely on the MTA every day.”
“Prior to the onset of Sandy, our goal was to restore service as quickly and safely as possible, and we were able to do that. These federal funds will go a long way to help the MTA pay for the initial costs associated with that effort,” said MTA Interim Executive Director Thomas F. Prendergast. “But much work remains and we will continue working on the next series of improvements, entering into contracts for projects that are essential to our customers including the full restoration of service to the Rockaways and to South Ferry station.”
$17.9 Million to Restore A Subway Line in Rockaways
The $141.6 million funding for New York City Transit includes $17.9 million for initial work to restore the heavily damaged A subway line in the Rockaways, parts of which were washed away during Sandy. Sandy damaged 3.6 miles of the A line between Howard Beach and the Rockaways section of Queens as its tidal surge washed away fencing and stone ballast, dumped tons of debris onto tracks and platforms, ripped away cables and left the entire signal system underwater. The A line is anticipated to reopen in summer 2013.
“The devastation in the Rockaways has forced more than 30,000 daily subway riders to find alternate means to get around, and the sooner we can restore the A train to them, the better off they will be,” Governor Cuomo said. “We should be grateful for the efforts of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff to begin the flow of essential funding to repair this and other critical transportation systems damaged by Sandy.”
$20.9 Million for Long Island Rail Road
The MTA has been awarded $20.9 million by the Federal Transit Administration to reimburse the MTA Long Island Rail Road for initial costs of preparing for and recovering from Sandy. During Sandy, the LIRR suspended service, moved over 1,000 train cars to elevated areas, secured hundreds of grade crossings over 700 miles of track and protected low-lying properties from flooding. Once the storm passed, LIRR crews worked around the clock to clear more than 600 trees and utility poles, boats and other debris from rights-of-way; to restore washed-out tracks and repair third rails, switches and signals; and to repair more than 20 electrical substations flooded and damaged by the storm. The first limited service was restored two days after Sandy hit. The LIRR is working with the FTA to pursue reimbursement for the most serious infrastructure damage caused by the storm, which occurred when corrosive salt water flooded the East River tunnels, the West Side Yard, the Long Island City Yard and the Long Beach Branch.
“The Long Island Rail Road took extraordinary steps to keep its equipment out of harm’s way before the storm, to assess damage as the storm passed through Long Island and to begin restoring train service just two days later,” Governor Cuomo said. “The FTA has begun the important work of delivering federal funding to reimburse the LIRR for its vital efforts.”
"This funding is critical to help the LIRR recover financially from some of the costs from Sandy,” Prendergast said. “We are pursuing every available dollar to reimburse the LIRR for Sandy-related costs. We thank Governor Cuomo for his leadership on this issue."
$14.9 Million for Metro-North Railroad
The MTA will receive $14.9 million from the Federal Transit Administration to begin reimbursement for MTA Metro-North Railroad for preparation, emergency response and service restoration costs from Superstorm Sandy. Some $2.7 million of the funding is allocated for the Connecticut portion of Metro-North’s New Haven Line. The FTA’s Public Transportation Emergency Relief Program will cover $11.2 million of the operating costs Metro-North incurred to prepare for the storm, make immediate repairs and re-establish service. The federal funding reimburses Metro-North for moving equipment to safe locations, filling and placing sandbags, operating test and patrol trains, cleaning cars for service restoration, assessing safety and environmental conditions, and providing up-to-date information to customers throughout the storm and its aftermath. The FTA funding also includes another $3 million to repair 17 rail cars and seven locomotives damaged by flood waters, as well as $720,000 to remove fallen, damaged and compromised trees that are in close proximity to critical infrastructure along miles of right-of-way. Metro-North is working with the FTA to pursue reimbursement for long-term capital investments necessary to restore Hudson Line infrastructure to pre-storm conditions, such as restoring the shoreline and right-of-way as well as power, signal and communications infrastructure.
“Metro-North is the largest commuter railroad in America, and its actions to protect its fleet and restore service after the most devastating storm in its history were critical to New York’s recovery from the storm,” Governor Cuomo said. “This federal funding is crucial to begin reimbursing the railroad for the significant costs it incurred through that work.”
“This reimbursement recognizes the tremendous effort put forth by Metro-North employees who worked around the clock to prepare for the storm and to protect the railroad,” Prendergast said. “We are gratified that the FTA has acted so quickly to begin making the railroad whole for its efforts.”
$3 Million for Bridges and Tunnels
The MTA will receive $3 million in expedited funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for work at its seven bridges and two tunnels. About $2.7 million of the FEMA funds will go towards costs associated with dewatering the Hugh L. Carey (formerly Brooklyn-Battery) and Queens Midtown tunnels, which were collectively flooded with approximately 72 million of gallons of brackish, oily water when Sandy struck October 29. The remaining $351,611 will cover costs associated with downed light posts, signs, trees, and damage to service buildings and toll plaza infrastructure across the nine facilities. MTA Bridges and Tunnels is working with FEMA to pursue reimbursement for the remainder of its post-Sandy emergency recovery costs, as well as costs associated with permanent repairs. At the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel and the Queens Midtown Tunnel, some partial temporary work must still be completed or is complete but not yet funded.
“We saw how New York suffered when both the Hugh L. Carey and Queens Midtown tunnels were out of commission after Sandy, and we saw the enormous amount of work MTA Bridges and Tunnels did to get them open again,” Governor Cuomo said. “The work is far from done, however. This money represents a first, important commitment by FEMA, and it will help ensure these vital transportation links are fully restored.”
“We are grateful for the governor’s continuing support to return these two critical transportation links to the condition they were in before Sandy,” said Prendergast said. “These tunnels were devastated from floor to ceiling, and it is no small feat to try and make these complex and time-consuming repairs while continuing to move an average 119,000 vehicles through them each day.”